April 16, 2008 - Harrogate, Tennessee—Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) opened the Powell River Aquatic Research Station (PRARS) to the public this week. The University celebrated the opening of the first research station of its kind on the Powell River by hosting an open house and formal dedication.

PRARS is a 576 square foot field station located in Tazewell, Tenn., in southern Claiborne County. It was developed through a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), local officials and LMU to create additional infrastructure capable of supporting increased study of the Powell River. Directed by LMU professor Dr. Ron Caldwell, the station represents important research opportunities for the critical habitat that exists in the Powell River. Critical habitats are federally designated areas that carry legal implications under the Endangered Species Act. The Powell River is a critical habitat for a number of endangered fish and mussels.

The facility is located approximately fifty yards from the Powell River at the Brooks Bridge. The Virginia state line is less than ten miles from the PRARS location. Originally built by local master carpenter Jay Gilpin, the facility recently underwent further expansion and renovation. It now boasts increased internet connectivity and availability of technology resources, a small conference facility and modest accommodations for visiting researchers and students. The renovations and improvements were funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Field Stations and Marine Laboratories program.

“This is a cutting edge facility where students and researchers have unprecedented access to the Powell River and the luxury of technology and internet access,” LMU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sherilyn Emberton said. “Not only does this facility have the potential to facilitate some very important research, we also have plans to open the facility up for the local community to enjoy as well.”

In addition to the infrastructure that PRARS provides, LMU is home to the Cumberland Mountain Research Center (CMRC). Located 18 miles from PRARS on the campus of LMU, the CMRC offers a fully functioning laboratory setting to support research conducted in the field. Caldwell founded CMRC in 1990. The laboratory is a member of the CESU Southern Appalachian Mountains Division and a partner in the National Biological Information Infrastructure project. CMRC faculty and students have participated in research efforts and grant-funded projects with numerous state and federal agencies for almost 20 years.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at

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